Friday Fractal XL

"It is what it is." This phrase has been bothering me lately, though I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason. It was enough that I was reluctant to post this fractal last week. Being an optical illusion, it contradicts the whole idea of "it is what it is". Of course, the more I thought about the phrase, the more I noticed people saying it. (Apparently, it was even voted the #1 cliche of 2004 by USA Today.) The more I heard it from people, the more I started thinking they might be wrong. "It is what it is" seems to deny the complex and dynamic aspects of nature. "Maybe it is something like what it looks like," might be a better way of putting it.

At any rate, this basic fractal, using only two colors (black and gray) deceives the eye. It isn't what it is. Is anything?


I'll leave it up to you decide... It is what is... or is it?

Fractal made by the author using ChaosPro

More like this

"It is what it is."

Believe it or not, I was in a courtroom once and heard a polished liar, flustered, say -- on the record! --

"It is not what it is."

That led to a California State Supreme Court case, which is a long story, and to my writing the below.


Jonathan Vos Post

Iago said: "I am not what I am."

Are you? Am I? Is anybody true?

This baby gurgles in its antique pram,

that conman posts a subtle aerogram....

Do I have to draw you a diagram?

Those who truly know themselves are few.

In court, he swears: "it is not what it is."

The judge, annoyed, slams down his golden ring.

"I see a contract; the signature is his;

forget the flimflam, pay him for his thing."

Bailiff buckles holster, clerk countersigns the quiz.

Your epitaph, or a goddam epigram?

The conman swears: "it is not what it is."

Iago said: "I am not what I am."


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I can really pinpoint which is the biggest crowdsourcing website (in terms of brand recognition). There are always seem to be a new one popping up which I've never heard. This time it's Crowdflower. The learning continues...